reflections, opinions, points of view
Finding + Using My Own Voice FO R M AN Y YE ARS I EARN E D A LI VI N G SCUL PT I N G
and cartoon characters for Nickelodeon, DC Comics, Warner Brothers, Pixar and others. I once flew out to George Lucas’ ranch in California with a sculpture of JarJar Binks, and for years I worked with the creator of Miss Piggy at Children’s Television Workshop. For a long time everything I owned was embedded with tiny pieces of clay and my clients all knew which sculptures were mine because they were covered in dog fur. When my brother was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s disease in his 30s, I quit sculpting and started writing—and then to my surprise, publishing— short stories. I had always wanted to be a writer, but I have had no formal education as a writer. I’m also dyslexic so I never took my prospects seriously. But I discovered that the years I spent adding and SUPERHE ROES
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subtracting and carving away bits of clay proved to be exceptional training for the work of writing. In many ways the process of finding a character in a hunk of clay is the same as finding a story on a blank page. You must work a piece from all angles and recognize the dangers of focusing too quickly on details when the structure and form have not yet been fully established. Life as a sculptor taught me how to be alone and how to maintain focus. I learned to be patient, persistent and disciplined—and to sometimes let a character emerge on its own. Fiction writing is many things. It is a mining and sifting through the raw material of life until something of substance emerges—a story line or character worth pursuing. But the true job of a writer is to elicit an image—a rich and expansive picture of the world written on the page. In many ways, writing is a visual
Annie Weatherwax 84 SC
Several 9 x 12" and 16 x 16" mixedmedia paintings from a series called Crazyland.
Rhode Island School of Design alumni magazine